Tripeptide-1 (GHK peptide) is one of the oldest, well-studied, and famous cosmetic peptides with sequence Gly-His-Lys, discovered in 1973 in human blood plasma and used in skin care applications for over two decades. It is a fragment of collagen type I and mimics the growth factor responsible for boosting the production of collagen, hyaluronic acid, and other GAGs (glycosaminoglycans).
It has several modifications (derivatives), and one of the most used is Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1 (Pal-GHK peptide; Pal-Gly-His-Lys) with a fatty acyl (Palmitoyl) group connected to N-terminus. Palmitoyl group makes the Pal-GHK more lipophilic, penetrating through the lipid barrier, enhancing the delivery, and boosting the effectiveness and performance of the ingredient. Like its predecessor, GHK peptide, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1 stimulates fibroblasts and enhances the production of collagen and GAGs, smoothing fine lines and deep wrinkles and improving the water-binding ability and elasticity of the skin.
Thanks to targeted and noticeable anti-aging action, Pal-GHK is used in numerous high-end skincare applications under the trade name Biopeptide CL™ by Sederma, as well as in well-known complexes with other peptides like Matrixyl™ 3000, Haloxyl™, and Maxi-Lip™. The former INCI, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, was used more than a decade ago when the cosmetic peptide nomenclature wasn't systemized. However, there are products where this ingredient is marked with Palmitoyl Oligopeptide ex-term.
Although Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1 is a synthetic ingredient, it brilliantly passed all safety tests, including toxicological, for the study of eye and skin irritation, and multiple clinical trials on human volunteers. It is also treated as an intellectual molecule that mimics human transforming growth factor, binding to special receptors on skin fibroblasts and signaling for the activation and production of extracellular matrix components up to levels corresponding to young skin. Some of the effects on the skin are similar to retinoids and used together, Pal-GHK potentiates the action exposing a youthful, smoother, and healthy appearance. Thanks to the low irritation profile, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1 is suitable for lip and eye care products, reinforcing and lifting sensitive eye area, plumping, and hydrating lips, and improving facial contours.